Students for Clean Water is a fully student-led and student-operated organization that is focused on the global water crisis. The goal of SFCW is “to eradicate the global water crisis through education, awareness and fundraising.” The organization also aims to bring awareness not only to the international level, but to a campus and regional level, as well.
“I joined SFCW because I wanted to be part of something that contributed to helping others,” said Isa Bivins, member of SFCW, “I hope that SFCW will continue to expand and unite students at Auburn, as well as the community off campus, to work towards ending the water crisis.”
According to Neverthirst, SFCW's parent non-profit organization based in Birmingham, Alabama, an estimated 780 million people suffer from a lack of clean water. The focus over the past two years has been on the country of Nepal and was previously focused on the Dominican Republic. Over two million people in Nepal lack clean drinking water and more than 6.6 million Nepalese people lack adequate sanitation facilities.
“SFCW gives its members the ability to be a part of something bigger than themselves,” said Molly Kilpatrick, vice president of member relations, “[The organization] also provides its members insight into the global water crisis and sustainability issues regarding water usage.”
The organization is not stopping at Auburn's campus but is also attempting to look outward toward the City of Auburn.
SFCW's goal for the 2020-2021 school year was to raise $15,000 which would enable the organization to send 75 water filters to Nepal with each going to one household. In prior years, the organization's fundraising goal was $20,000.
“With the pandemic this year we wanted to be realistic in what we asked of our members and the local businesses that support us,” Kilpatrick said. “COVID has especially affected small businesses where we host events like benefit nights and bowling tournaments.”
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The global pandemic has also affected the organization's international outreach efforts. SFCW had just begun planning annual trips to Costa Rica and other impoverished countries in an attempt to directly impact those communities. The organization not only had to cancel the 2020 trip but also has chosen to suspend them indefinitely due to travel restrictions.
The organization just recently had its signature event, Water Week, from March 15-19, intended to further raise funds for its donation initiatives.
“Overall, Water Week was a huge success,” said Audrey Nabors, junior in neuroscience and director of outreach for SFCW. “Even with a weird and hard year, we were able to raise over $3,700. Each day of the week had an event beginning with our annual bowling tournament H2Bowl and ending with a virtual raffle on Friday.”
SFCW had a wide spectrum of donors from parents of members to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Neuro-Oncology. Last semester, the Carry the Jerry 5K event gave students and faculty an insight into the difficulties that those suffering through the water crisis are going through. The 5K was timed, and through the last 100 feet runners had the option to carry a 5 gallon jerry can filled with water. The idea behind it is that those without clean water will often have to go much farther while carrying the same weight just in an attempt to have clean drinking water.
World Water Day was Monday, March 22 and was celebrated internationally in an effort to raise awareness for the global water crisis. SFCW’s member applications will open in August for the 2021-2022 school year.
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